Monday, February 19, 2018

Tentative priorities of the left alliance led government and more

From Kantipur: A team formed to chart out policies and programs priorities for the new government has submitted report to PM KP Sharma Oli and chairman of CPN-MC Pushpa Kamal Dahal. Here are the key priorities:
  • Replace gas and petroleum fuel with electricity use within five years
  • One industrial area in each province
  • Establish waste processing and disposal center and generate electricity out of it
  • Establish polytechnique institute in each local body
  • Upgrade zonal hospitals to medical college
  • Government to establish medical college
  • Retain National Planning Commission
  • Revive National Trading Limited
  • Widen tax net
  • Reduce government expenditure

From The Kathmandu Post: Nepal has abandoned the plan of relying on the non-income criteria framed by the United Nations (UN) to graduate from the Least Developed Country (LDC) category, fearing the transition would significantly reduce the flow of foreign aid and deprive the country of other international support measures.

“We have decided not to graduate based on non-income criteria as our capacity needs to be enhanced in various areas,” NPC Vice Chairman Swarnim Wagle told journalists on Sunday. In March, 2015, a meeting of the UN Committee for Development Policy (UNCDP), a body under the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, had told Nepal that it was eligible for LDC graduation under non-income criteria. During that meeting, the UNCDP had said it would review Nepal’s case again in March, 2018 and confirm whether it was ready for graduation.

UN data show that Nepal’s per capita gross national income stood at $659 during 2015 review meeting, which was way below the UN threshold. However, Nepal had achieved a score of 26.8 in Economic Vulnerability Index, which was 5.2 points more than the UN threshold. Also, Nepal had scored 68.7 in Human Assets Index, which was 2.7 points more than the UN threshold. “But we have told the UN that some of the indicators for graduation are irrelevant to us and issues that are important for Nepal’s economic and human capital development have not been incorporated in the formula for LDC graduation,” Wagle said.

From The Kathmandu Post: Nepal will have to fork out about Rs1,770 billion per year till 2030, or around 68 percent of the last fiscal year’s gross domestic product (GDP), to attain the SDGs, says the report, ‘Sustainable Development Goals - Status and Roadmap: 2016-2030’, which highlights major issues and challenges that the country needs to reckon with to implement SDGs.

A big chunk of this investment, or 55 percent, will have to come from the government, adds the report released on Sunday by the National Planning Commission (NPC) Vice Chairman Swarnim Wagle. This investment, which hovers around Rs973.5 billion per year, is around 76 percent of the government’s budget for the current fiscal year. Most of the public investment will go towards poverty reduction, followed by agriculture, health, education, gender, water and sanitation, transport infrastructure, climate action, and governance. The public investment requirement is expected to be the lowest in tourism followed by energy, industry, and urban infrastructure, mainly housing, where private and household investment will be required.

The private sector is expected to contribute about Rs382 billion per year to meet the SDGs and households are expected to finance up to 5 percent of the total SDG investment requirement, which comes to around Rs88.5 billion per year. The incremental financing resources of cooperatives available for SDGs, according to the NPC report, are estimated at about Rs25 billion annually, while NGOs are expected to mobilise about Rs20 billion per year to meet the SDGs. 

This implies arranging funds to meet SDGs will be a tough nut to crack for the government. The NPC has said domestic financing through revenue mobilisation and internal borrowing could finance about 62 percent of the public sector SDG investment requirement while foreign aid, both grants and loans, would finance another 20 percent of the public sector financing needs if the overall foreign aid pie grows by at least 10 percent during 2016-2020 period, 5 percent during 2021-25 and 2 percent thereafter. This means inflow of foreign aid will have to double from existing levels to meet the SDGs, which will raise country’s dependence on overseas development assistance (ODA).